Tomato preserves day 2 in a row

If you look at the title, I really hope there is no day three and for sure no day four. I need a break. We have picked the garden pretty dry. There are a few here and there, but nothing of significance. I think this is the earliest we have ever taken in all of the tomatoes. Of course I keep thinking that we are down in numbers, which we are, and I can’t figure out why except that everything is so much smaller this year. I believe the garden soil needs a replenishment, which is why I am so trying to convince myself we need next summer in a cover crop of peas. They are a nitrogen replenishing plant. Anyway, James agrees that the production is a bit smaller, but he reminded me that in the past we planted nearly 60 plants. No wonder we got the crops we did. Also the plants two years ago were so large that they were almost as tall as me. I know they were over 5 feet tall. Get a plant that high and you have lots more branches to bear fruit.

So enough of all that lesson. Today, we figured it was a good day to run another batch of the Roma tomatoes through the processing set up. There really aren’t enough Beefsteaks ripe to make the effort with them, and we could have mixed, but there were so many Romas, I decided to go with them.

In the last post I showed a picture of all of the tomatoes setting out waiting to be chosen for the processor. Well, I actually left out the countertop. On the counter, I had another pop case box full of Roma tomatoes.

Salsa
Salsa

I took those along with a couple of large bowls, as in huge large bowl, the big steel type that my mother used in mixing up salads when she was doing a large catering job. So, it was three bowls of Romas. Washed, blanched and peeled them. James and I figured between picking, taking off the table (we won’t count putting them on since some of them we pour out of pails), taking them out of the wash water, taking them out of the boiling water, peeling them, we have touched each tomato roughly five times. Those of you who can do the counting, you might do it more. I realize some of the touches are with scoops, but it is still handling them.

So today we didn’t quite do two batches of 7. We made salsa, and in order to get it thicker to make Paulina happy, I took some of the liquid off and made some really runny juice. We ended up with four quarts of juice and nine quarts of salsa. What that means is we were a quart low of the 14 quart goal. Oh well. I say anytime you are operating with 2 canner kettles at one time, you are doing pretty well. I often get a bit nervous about running both on the glass stove top at one time, but I haven’t had any problems in the past.

Two kettles nearly full!
Two kettles nearly full!

I won’t be giving a recipe for salsa because well, I just don’t follow one well enough. I wasn’t going to make all of it into salsa, but I ended up with a bit too much canning salt and needed to put the other two quarts back into the mix to get it smoothed out. I put in three or four bell peppers and at least a dozen jalapeños. At first I thought it was pretty hot, but after I stirred it up and heated it a bit, not so much, so I added a few chili peppers to give it a good kick. The only thing I know for sure is that it is thick and that will be nice for a change. I wasn’t going to make salsa this year, but decided one batch after I went downstairs to do a count.

On the basement storage shelves I have in quarts: 21 spaghetti, 14 salsa, 13 soup, 14 whole tomatoes and 10 juice. That was before today. Now it is 21, 23, 13, 14 and 14. The next batch will for sure be more soup. It is what I like the most, so soup and whole tomatoes will be the future of my canning tasks. I have committed to a day of substitute teaching next week and Wednesday will be quite busy with the quilting stuff, so I better get on what I can pun, pun on Monday. Enough for now and happy canning.

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